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SURGICAL S I T E INF ECTION


shape entirely that would create less resistance to air flow and be more efficient for the patient, ensuring clean air was circulated to them.


“In an ideal world, the best shape possible would be an aeroplane wing-like shape. However, this was impossible to design, so the next best shape was a cylinder. This was a good compromise as it was practical to design and manufacture, and capable of offering less turbulence to air flow.” To develop the new design, Merivaara worked with Halton Oy to test the influence of different types of surgical lights on airflow distribution and airborne contaminants in the operating room environment.


Phase one of the research was to analyse the aerodynamic performance of current lamp head designs available on the market, including the new style shape being looked at by Merivaara. As predicted, the worst performers to airflow were the single block designs. An alternative to this cross-section shape also performed well and allowed airflow to pass through it; however, the illumination of light given out was poor. Nieminen commented that it was a balancing act to find the design that offered the best air flow while still providing efficient illumination for clinicians. The optimal design was a new open ring concept that was cylindrical in shape but had slits cut into it to allow air to flow through it.


Open ring aero analysis The next stage of the research was to


carry out initial computer-generated air flow behaviour analyses on the different shapes. Results showed that the single block design prevented air flow access to the surgical site while directing the air flow to the corners of the operating room. Direction of air flow is also reversed under the lamp head, resulting in upward air flow.


The new open ring design concept,


however, did not seem to cause the air flow direction to reverse and there was a huge reduction in the amount of airflow that was filtered into the corner of the room compared to the single block design. Again, this proved


to be the stronger design.


Phase three of the research involved using advanced computational analysis and 3D models to simulate the air environment around the operating table to assess the impact that different surgical light shapes have on air currents and cleanliness. The results allowed them to establish the best design for reduced turbulence and thus optimal laminar airflow in the OR. “The 3D modelling allowed us to see the exact modelling of a clinical setting with the dimensions showing how air flow would be effected. The nature of the 3D modelling allowed us to be very exact at this stage


JANUARY 2021


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